Rivermen Sign Three, Including Ernst, For 2023-24

September 26, 2023 - 03:50 pm

PEORIA, IL – The Peoria Rivermen announced on Tuesday that they have signed three players, forward Jordan Ernst, forward Vadim Vasjonkin, and defenseman Renat Dadadzhanov to the training camp roster ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Ernst, a native of Mokena, Illinois, is entering his sixth season of professional hockey and fourth with the Rivermen. Coming into the professional ranks in 2018 after two seasons with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, Ernst suited up for the Stockton Heat (AHL) and the Kansas City Mavericks (ECHL) before making his way to Peoria in 2019. In the season cut short by COVID-19, Ernst tallied 21 goals in 45 games. During the Rivermen’s COVID pause, Ernst was among a handful of Rivermen who suited up for the Pensacola Ice Flyers and won a President’s Cup in 2021. Returning to the River City late in the 2021-22 campaign, Ernst was a critical component in Peoria’s President’s Cup title run, capturing his second SPHL crown in as many years. The 2022-23 season turned out to be Ernst’s best statistically as he garnered 36 points (22 goals, 14 assists) in 50 games, including several goals coming in the final seconds of periods. Ernst is the only two-time President’s Cup champion on the Rivermen roster.

Vadim Vasjonkin returns to Peoria after a brief appearance with the Rivermen at the very end of last season. A native of Tallinn, Estonia, Vasjonkin broke into the SPHL in 2022 with the Vermilion County Bobcats. After Vermilion County ceased operations, Vasjoknkin signed with the Birmingham
Bulls before signing with the Rivermen at the tail end of the 2022-23 campaign. He made his presence felt, contributing five points (two goals, three assists) in the final six games of the regular season. In total, Vasjonkin’s rookie season saw him garner 21 points (8 goals, 31 assists) in 31 games.

Hailing from Moscow, defenseman Renat Dadadzhanov will be making his professional debut this season with the Rivermen. A long-time staple in the Quebec junior hockey scene, Dadadzhanov played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Shawinigan Cataractes and added another two seasons with Saint-Jérôme Panthères of the Quebec Junior Hockey League. He boasted nine goals and 43 assists in his final two seasons with the QJHL. Dadadzhanov is the third SPHL rookie signed by the Rivermen.